Previous Format: Classical WNCN
New Format: Active Rock “Q104.3” WAXQ
Date & Time Of Change: December 18, 1993 at 12:00am
More Info: Wikipedia, New York Daily News
Related Changes: 104.3 WNCN New York Becomes Rock WQIV
Being one of three Classical Music stations in the New York market in a time when radio is more and more reliant on being a revenue generator for the owner spelled doom for WNCN. Once the flagship for the Concert Network, which distributed classic programming to station throughout the Northeast ( including WBCN Boston, WRCN Riverhead, and WHCN Hartford), the station had actually made the same flip 20 years earlier. Among protest from its former listeners, “Q104” WQIV dropped its Progressive Rock format in 1974 after just a few weeks to return to the WNCN Classical programming. This time the change was made to a very Hard leaning Rock format with the WAXQ call letters.
From what I know about WQIV, there marketing strategy was to present Rock music in quadrophonic stereo. The format actually lasted about ten months and featured such jocks as Carol Miller.
As for the 2nd incarnation, WAXQ began with a weekend of the band ACDC profeiled from the letters A to Z. In 1996 the switched to a “Classic” Rock format which followed some interesting stunting. On the last night June 30th the station featured everything from Led Zeppelin albums, to Hip-hop to a sports interview conducted by Eddie Trunk. The first song under the new Classic Rock format was Fore-play, Long Time. It was interesting that they didn’t start the format Jockless. In fact their previous morning show host Donna Donna was the first jock. The format stands to this day.
“Among protest from its former listeners, “Q104? WQIV dropped its Progressive Rock format in 1974 after just a few weeks to return to the WNCN Classical programming.”
You’re correct, Nick. It was months rather than weeks. I had moved from KUDL-FM in Kansas City to do the evening shift on WQIV-FM. Pretty heady times for a twenty-something from the Midwest. I found out that the station was returning to its classical format by reading an item in the New York Post, while riding the subway on the way to work. No one had called to tell me the news.
Marian Lawston Velivis
Every so often I look at this and I just saw your post. I remember you coming from Kansas City as a young jock. I did a little bit of everything, production, traffic, administrative, etc. It was a short lived moment in time. Nice to hear from one of the original quad squarers – it’s been 40 years this November!
Dave, I have no idea if you’ll see this, but I had to try.
In May ‘74 Larry Miller hired 19 year old me and my pal Terry Stewart to do overnites at KUDL.
An amazing opportunity that I sometimes think might have
just been a bizarre dream! At any rate, you always treated us better than we probably deserved. Thank you sir.
WAXQ had a pretty week signal out in Western NJ where I used to live, but it was such a great station for a while that my friends and I would endure the static just to hear the music. I do remember that toward the beginning, the jocks hardly said a word. In fact I remember a slogan that said something like, “Play more music and shut up.”
The progressive rock/free form sound of WQIV began on November 7, 1974 at 11 A.M. It lasted until August 19 at 2 P.M. The first song was Roll Over Beethoven by ELO. The last song was Funeral for a Friend by Elton John.
At 2 P.M. on the 19th and for a week, the carrier remained on the air with an ID being heard twice an hour. This was because they were leasing out the subcarrier to supermarkets to provide background music and they were also concerned that if they shut the transmitter off, a pirate might go on 104.3 for a few days.
At 8 P.M. on the 25th, WNCN returned to the air under Star broadcasting whose board chairman was William F. Buckly, Jr. The station would be sold to the GAF Corporation. They were the company that changed the format to modern rock and the call letters to WAXQ in 1993.
Hearing this aircheck brought back many memories of the night in 93 whan that happened. Thanks for the aircheck.
If I remember right, when WNCN went off the air in favor of WQIV, the last two notes of whatever classical piece they were playing were cut off.
I never knew this then, but when they went back on the air they began with the two “missing notes” and said something like “sorry for the interruption.”
I’ll never forget that morning of Thursday, November 7, 1974 when WNCN was abruptly cut off and “Roll Over Beethoven” came on the air. It was like rubbing salt in an open wound and the experience made a lasting impression on me. I was 12 years old and sitting in the kitchen of our Cranbury, NJ home with my mother. For some reason I was there on a schoolday. The sublime sound of WNCN’s classical programming was always a reliable and comforting soundtrack to our lives and we were determined to witness this painful, brutal transition on the high-fidelity KLH FM radio which was permanently tuned to the station for years. I think we both cried.
I was in the control room when WNCN died and WQIV was born, having been hired months earlier as the AM drive DJ. Our take-over was delayed by listener group pressures on the FCC to halt the format switch.
The first person on air at WQIV was PD Larry Miller, ex of Starr’s KUDL in Kansas City. He stepped on the final notes of the classical piece just out of ignorance, not malice… ie, he did not know how the piece ended and hadn’t auditioned it.
Of course, playing ELO’s “Roll Over Beethoven” followed by Lou Reed was rubbing salt into the wound. I’m sure WNCN listeners around the city were pissed, and with good reason. But hey… it was 1975 and we were just punks.
WNCN and WQIV share a similar philosophy about different kinds of music. We both played the obscure cuts, loved what we played and were renegades in our respective genres. During the months leading up to the format switch, I spent a fair amount of time with the ‘NCN “DJ’s” and gained a lot of respect for them.
Today (7-14-09) I learn that the NY Times is selling WQXR to WNYC to “save Classical radio” in NYC. Thirty plus years later, and the beat goes on…
JIM CAMERON / ex-WQIV
Marian Lawston (Velivis)
Wow, I worked at WNCN/WQIV – I was an administrative assistant to the GM and PD and then eventually traffic director/production and whatever else I could do. I stayed through the format changes and loved both staffs. I remember Larry Miller, Jim Cameron, Thom O’Hair, David Dubal, Carol Miller, Al Bernstein, Dick Oppenheimer, Betty Lyons, Matt Edwards and a host of names from both formats. It was a great and esciting adventure!
Marian Lawston (now Velivis)/WNCN/WQIV
Hi Marion…there’s a photo of you on the WNCN.org website.
“Maid Marion” was what David Dubal called you. He went on to stay with WNCN, on and off, until late 1980s or early 1990’s.
Nice to know you’re still around.
Marian Lawston (Velivis)
Matt, I haven’t been on here in almost a year and I see you replied. Yes, you and I were in contact a few years ago and had talked about a reunion of some sort and then I lost contact. Yes, I remember David calling me “Maid Marian”. I’d love to see you guys again. Let’s find a way to say “hi”. They were crazy years, but wonderful too. I’m still sad that I never got to see Betty Lyons again. I saw she had passed away, she was my “work mama”. Hope all is well, I truly do. I work in education full time and part time at a local radio station, never did get it out of my blood:)
I also worked at WNCN in the early ’80’s. I remeber David Dubal also. He and share a love performance (he piano and I voice). I worked the library and helped to catagorize and computerize the classical music titles and recordings. It was a great job.
Robert T. Resnick
Unlike Phil, I went to High School that day on November 7, 1974. However, I put my tape recorder and radio on a timer and recorded WNCN becoming WQIV. To hear it please use the following link.
It might be necessary to clipboard and paste the link. Although the Youtube aircheck runs for ten minutes, I have six hours of recording from that day.
Nice to see this website…so sad…I remember that fateful, horrible “switch.” I screamed at my kids for fooling around with the radio…when I found out they hadn’t done anything, not only did I feel awful for screaming at them and accusing them of something they didn’t do, but I also actually felt like someone had punched me in the stomach….now we’re down to one civilized radio station here in the cultural capital of the world and even though its not as good as NCN was, its better than a sharp stick in the eye….I only hope it can survive. Thanks for the memories.
Marian Lawston Velivis
Would love to hear from Matt Edwards or David Dubal or someone from the old WNCN days in the mid-seventies. Every now and then I check this site and see it has not had much activity. If anyone is around, please shoot me an email just to say hi.
Hope all is well.
I vividly remember when Q-104.3 rudely pushed aside WNCN. i was sitting at home, on a Friday evening, writing something on my computer, I think, and enjoying Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony. Suddenly, I hear this voice announcing the end of WNCN. I felt shocked and dismayed.
Btw, the choice of the “Farewell” Symphony as the final piece was so poignantly appropriate…